Tigers beat Peregrine while encouraging Zayla in her fight to beat cancer
Author: Wendy Reid
Posted: Wednesday, October 02, 2013 at 9:10 AM
BOURBONNAIS, Ill. – If you were at Snowbarger Athletic Complex last night for the No. 19 Olivet Nazarene University women’s soccer game, you saw something special. Yes, the scoreboard at the end of the game showed that the Tigers handily defeated Purdue University-Calumet 7-1 in Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference action, but the real story was the yellow balloons raising into the sky as the Tigers and their 400 fans recognized Zayla Mitsdarffer, a local young girl who is battling cancer for the third time in your young life.
“Pray for Zay” as the fundraiser was named, was a success not because of the money received but because this young lady saw that people care, people who don’t know her personally but want to help her with her battle. The plan for the match was to have Zayla enter the field with the Tigers, to be announced as if she were one of the team’s starters. That plan, however didn’t work out as Zayla was unable to make it to the start of the match.
“When you are battling cancer you have good days and bad days,” said junior Emily Rosenboom (Kankakee, Ill.) as she led the team in prayer at halftime. “Unfortunately, today is one of those bad days for Zayla.” At the end of Rosenboom’s prayer, she asked the crowd to release their balloons to symbolize the prayer going to Heaven.
When Zayla and her family arrived with about 20 minutes left in the game, she was greeted with chants of “We love you Zayla” and welcomed with open arms by the crowd. She was able to celebrate the victory with the Tigers on the field after the game.
The Tigers (6-3, 2-1) jumped out to an early lead over the Peregine (0-9, 0-3) when freshman Jenna Ayers (Colfax, Ill.) got her first collegiate goal off of a pass from sophomore Betsy Hetrick (Plainfield, Ill.) at the 10:48 mark. Olivet added a second goal four minutes later when Hetrick assisted sophomore Liz Wahl (Homer Glen, Ill.) to make it 2-0 entering the half.
Purdue-Calumet gave the Tigers a slight scare when Maxzine Rossler blooped a shot over sophomore keeper Amanda Siciak’s (Bloomingdale, Ill.) head just one minute into the second half to bring the Peregrine within one, but the Tigers answered quickly and frequently to secure the victory.
At 50:50, Wahl picked up her second goal, this time off of a midfield pass by senior Rachel Kilbry (Spring Lake, Mich.). Then, Hetrick found the net twice, once at 64:21 and another at 67:32, the second assisted by freshman Julia Luecke (Freeport, Ill.) and junior Jessica Higer (Kuna, Idaho).
Not to be outdone by Hetrick, Higer scored back-to-back goals with only a minute between, the first at 74:28 off of a senior McKenzie Hengesh (Canton, Mich.) pass and the second from Wahl to put the score at 7-1. Siciak finished with four saves on the night, going the distance in the net.
The Tigers will travel to Trinity International University (Ill.) on Friday, Oct. 4 for a 4:00 p.m. match with the Trojans.